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ROSCIUS deceas'd, each high aspiring play'r
Push'd all his int'rest for the vacant chair.
But though bare merit might in Rome appear The strongest plea for favour, 'tis not here; We form our judgment in another way; And they will best succeed, who best can pay : Those, who would gain the votes of British tribes, Must add to force of merit, force of bribes.
What can an actor give? In ev'ry age
They can't, like candidate for other seat,
But what they have they give; could Clive do more,
Shuter keeps open house at Southwark fair,
The town divided, each runs sev'ral ways,
From galleries loud peals of laughter roll, And thunder Shuter's praises he 's so droll. Embox'd, the ladies must have something smart, Palmer! Oh! Palmer tops the janty part. Seated in pit, the dwarf, with aching eyes, Looks up, and vows that Barry's out of size; Whilst to six feet the vig'rous stripling grown, Declares that Garrick is another Coan. *
When place of judgment is by whim supply'd, And our opinions have their rise in pride; When, in discoursing on each mimic elf, We praise and censure with an eye to self; All must meet friends, and Ackman bids as fair In such a court, as Garrick, for the chair.
At length agreed, all squabbles to decide, By some one judge the cause was to be try'd;
* John Coan, a dwarf, who died in 1764. C
But this their squabbles did afresh renew,
For Johnson some, but Johnson, it was fear'd,
To mischief train'd, e'en from his mother's womb, Grown old in fraud, though yet in manhood's bloom, Adopting arts, by which gay villains rise, And reach the heights which honest men despise ; Mute at the bar, and in the senate loud, Dull 'mongst the dullest, proudest of the proud; A pert, prim, prater of the northern race,
Guilt in his heart, and famine in his face,
"At Friendship's call," (thus oft with trait'rous aim
Men, void of faith, usurp Faith's sacred name)
"Thanks to my friends. But to vile fortunes
No robes of fur these shoulders must adorn.
With sleek appearance, and with ambling pace, And, type of vacant head, with vacant face, The Proteus Hill put in his modest plea, "Let Favour speak for others, Worth for me.' For who, like him, his various powers could call Into so many shapes, and shine in all ? Who could so nobly grace the motley list, Actor, inspector, doctor, botanist? Knows any one so well sure no one knows, At once to play, prescribe, compound, compose? Who can But Woodward came, -Hill slipp'd
Melting like ghosts, before the rising day.
• With that low cunning, which in fools supplies, And amply too, the place of being wise, Which Nature, kind, indulgent parent, gave To qualify the blockhead for a knave; [charms, With that smooth falsehood, whose appearance And reason of each wholesome doubt disarms, Which to the lowest depths of guile descends, By vilest means pursues the vilest ends, Wears Friendship's mask for purposes of spite, Fawns in the day, and butchers in the night; With that malignant envy, which turns pale, And sickens, even if a friend prevail, Which merit and success pursues with hate, And damns the worth it cannot imitate; With the cold caution of a coward's spleen, Which fears not guilt, but always seeks a skreen, Which keeps this maxim ever in her view What's basely done, should be done safely too; With that dull, rooted, callous impudence, Which, dead to shame, and ev'ry nicer sense, Ne'er blush'd, unless, in spreading Vice's snares, She blunder'd on some virtue unawares;
With all these blessings, which we seldom find
* This severe character was intended for Mr. Fitzpatrick, a person who had rendered himself remarkable by his activity in the playhouse riots of 1763, relative to the taking half prices. He was the hero of Garrick's Fribbleriad. E.